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tv   HAR Dtalk on the Road in France  BBC News  October 12, 2017 12:30am-1:01am BST

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top story: officials say that wins and dry conditions could spread wildfires that are the most deadly in the state's history. north korea has issued a fresh threat to the trump administration, accusing the president of lighting the wake of war. it comes after us bombers flew over the korean peninsula. allegations against hollywood film producer harvey weinstein are mounting. a string of high—profile actresses and models have come forward to accuse the movie mogul of sexual harassment or assault. lots more on the website but that's all from me. stay with us on bbc world news, goodbye for now. now it's time for hardtalk. music playing. france has been stuck
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in a rut for a long time, is it finally ripe for a fall. we know we have to change a lot of things but we did not want an economy just totally liberal. it sounds like you are in love with emmanuel macron. maybe. no, i'm very enthusiastic and i think, especially for the young people, he can bring hope to them. "look out for the teeth of the grey panthers". yeah, you are dangerous? president emmanuel macron is intent on reform. he wants to open up the economy, to deregulate it — it is, in a way, a form of economic shock therapy. the question is, can this new young president take his country with him.
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this change is real and it's going to be maybe brutal? no, it's not brutal, it's dynamic. chanting. street demonstrations are as much a part of the french way of life as baguette and red wine. to explain, the sign says, "look out for the teeth of the grey panthers". yeah, you're dangerous? are you angry? very angry. what do you think of mr macron? not good at all. old people in france have always been a little bit grumpy when they see things they do not like
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and what they do not like right now is emmanuel macron and his plan to tax their pensions. better off pensioners will be hit hardest. ironically, many of these grey—haired protesters voted for young mr macron, just a five months ago. i think this increase of that tax — csg — is totally unfair because it is concentrated on one portion of the population. if you do not mind me asking, how much money are you going to lose with this tax change? i guess, about 1,000 euros a year. that's quite a lot of money. it is, definitely. do you think it will change your life in any way? somehow, yeah. he is running after the euro. he completely neglected the base of the franc. madame, you told me that you voted to him in the presidential election. would you vote for him again? probably a white vote, that would be. abstain? abstain, yes, exactly.
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you do feel very disappointed in him? disappointed, definitely. the french president is yet to turn a0 but he is a man in a hurry. his en marche political movement broke the mould of french politics. some in france see him as their clinton, or blair, with a one—in—a—generation chance to build a more open, flexible entrepreneurial france. drum roll. the french national assembly is rich in tradition. it is also now dominated by a new breed of mp — macronists — mostly successful professionals from business and public service drawn to the banner of reform. jean—baptiste djebbari is a pilot, who was an executive in a private jet business. he abandoned the cockpit for a seat in parliament, after being persuaded by the macron vision. i met the president i think two and a half years back now,
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it was injanuary, 2015. and i thought he was different from the politicians i got to know at the time. a lot more careful and responsive than the other politicians. i kept that in mind. and later in december, i read the political platform. injanuary i decided to run. i got nominated in may, and here i am so. but you are a pilot, i mean, you do not know anything about politics. i mean, i did also part of my career in the ministry for transport, so i know the administration, i know how it works, i know also its limits. and because i am an entrepreneur, so i know what the social climate is, what tax and legal issues are. and this is the university of life, so to say, this can be taken into politics. we can bring something different. obviously, we do not pretend we don't want to be politicians for the rest of our lives and that is our strength,
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not a weakness. and we learnt fast, that's also something. when you talk about what you bring — if you look at the breakdown of en marche mps, you are overwhelmingly — about 70% of you — from the upper middle class, you are not representative of all of france. well, this is true, i have to admit. but this is a french cultural issue, and you're right, i mean, there are still some gaps to be filled, and that is also a commitment we have but i can only say that you're right. but the point is, we sit here, as france is being polarised, frankly, by debate over the labour reforms. when you walk past, on your way to work, you walk past the renewed demonstrations, the manifestation, do you think, oh, my god, france is just fighting the same old battles at it will be the same old result? i think this is democracy but obviously this it is also a way of democracy that france produced because there is a reluctance for reforms. and i think there is certain
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cultural reluctance for reform. and this is not the way i think. so how do you overcome that? we hope that if we produce effects quite rapidly, the public opinion will say ok, that happened. the macron message is, "france is back". and erich bonnet is back too. i'm stephen. nice to meet you. thank you so much for inviting me over. welcome. new office, we moved two days ago. two days — so this is band new for you? yes. let's have a look. please. for the last three years, his office has been in london, but he has decided to move back to paris. you have a lot of unpacking to do. yes. still unpacking. what's in here? partly, it is about worries over brexit, mostly it's driven by an enthusiasm for macron‘s economic policies, especially his corporate and property tax cuts. macron plans to lower corporate tax
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to 25% within the next five years... and when you left paris, it was how much? 33%. it's 20% in the uk, and it will be, i think, 18% or 17% in the coming years. so of course, it's still more interesting in the uk, but on the other hand you have a lot of other advantages in paris and in france. such as... such as real estate is less expensive. schools are more affordable. how many staff are you going to employ in this office — this is empty now — when you filled it up? we have a total staff of nine. within these nine, eight will be in this office at the very beginning of january. i'm just wondering whether it is important to you that mr macron and his labour reforms mean you do not have to deal with trade unions, you have more flexibility about how you hire and fire — there's a cap on redundancy payments, now — does all this make a big difference to you?
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yes, i wouldn't say a very big difference but a significant difference. also the flat tax on financial revenues is very clear and simple. it ia a 30% flat tax. it sounds like you are in love with emmanuel macron. maybe. no, i am very enthusiastic. and i think ,you know, i lived three years in london and i met a lot of wealthy people sometimes but also i met a lot of young non—wealthy people, who worked in restaurants, in london, simply because they wanted to have simply a job. i think macron will probably bring hope to these new generations also. paris may look unchanging but it is not. like any major city, the internet is remaking the economy. the uber taxi app has long
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been controversial here. they even have a phrase, which captures french concern about what the gig economy is doing to traditionaljobs. samir is an uber driverfrom one of paris's poorer suburbs. he takes me to his old turf, bondy. a neighbourhood with a high immigrant population, widespread poverty and skyhigh youth unemployment. reform is a word that
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resonates here too. in a funny sort of way, it seems to me you are exactly the kind of guy that emmanuel macron believes in. you know, you are highly flexible. do you have faith that, let's say five years from now,
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that five years of emmanuel macron‘s reforms, can really change the lives of people in this neighbourhood? take the train south, out of paris, and a different france comes into view. just as with trump's rise and the brexit vote, metropolitan attitudes do not always travel well. this is riom, my first time here.
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so ijourneyed to the rural auvergne region, for a different take on france's readiness for reform. riom is home to 19,000 people, a country town shaped by farming, small business and traditional values. just outside town, the tobacco harvest is in full swing. this region has long grown the leaf at gauloises and gitanes. these days, imports have replaced much of the home—grown supply. but here, they still make a tidy profit from virginia tobacco. is it true to say that tobacco farming and growing is really part of the tradition of the tradition, of the communities around here? it was. it was because today, unfortunately, it is almost over because every manufacturer closed.
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they prefer to sell and buy the tobacco where it is less expensive, in europe. it is not easy to businesses in france to maximise their profits because, for example, labour costs and the labour market is more difficult here than it is, for example, in poland — that's just the truth. it is. for sure, it is, but it depends if you want to work with quality as well. i think quality is important. and the tradition... and the tradition, totally... ..and the community. yeah, that's true. but some of these words are social words, they're not economic words. yeah, but i think we can combine, today, i think, we really have to work with the social part and the liberal economic part,
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i think. one of riom's biggest employers has long been the cigarette factory, home to the gitanes brand, owned by uk—based imperial tobacco. but the company shut it down earlier this year. france's last cigarette factory stubbed out. workers put up crosses outside the factory for every job gone. 239 of them. france has one of the highest unemployment rates in the western world. in an industrial estate on the edge of town, ijoined a group of former imperial employees, trying to persuade the company to let them partially reopen the factory as a co—operative. here in riom, the macron vision of reformed labour market — more freedom for employers to hire and fire — runs into trouble. back in the national assembly,
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battle lines are being drawn up for a prolonged struggle over emmanuel macron‘s reforms. it started with the labour laws, but will include pensions benefits, tax reform and more. new voices are emerging on the left, to challenge the macron ascendancy. danielle 0bono is a prominent voice in france unbowed. we're not defending the status quo. we do think that that emmanuel macron is the status quo, which is obeying the eu mandate, which is to destroy the labour laws. what we're saying is that there are alternatives to this way. but if you look at the way france is responding, your party, the trades unions, have called for big demonstrations to show that the country rejects emmanuel macron‘s approach. to be honest, the demonstrations have not been that big. you on the left are not winning this argument. but we're starting.
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let me remind you that the vast majority of the population is against the reform. the opinion polls show that they don't trust that this reform will help them or help them find a job, because they are aware of what is being attacked is the protection of the... that's becaause you're filling them with propaganda, telling them that is going to be the most disastrous thing that has ever happened. no, i think the people, especially the workers, know by experience. they know the reality, and the reality is that it is more flexibility, and no morejobs. isn't the truth that you don't like the presidential style of macron — you accuse him of being almost some sort of king, le roi — and that is an argument about style, not an argument about substance? the thing is the government and the president has made — his entire political reply is actually about style, a sort ofjupitarian president. he is the one who nicknamed himself. the "jupitarian president" simply
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means he is a guy that wants to get things done. you know, in france, it's been so difficult... everybody wants to get things done, we don't agree with the way things are supposed to be done, and to which interests things are supposed to be done. paris is supposed to be the city of romance, but emmanuel macron‘s honeymoon with voters lasted no time at all. his approval ratings have plunged as he's pushed through his first reforms. will this be another case of reformist ambition thwarted? inside the french government, there is, as yet, no sign of panic. they have a mandate, and they have the optimism that comes with being political outsiders. europe minister nathalie loiseau so is a technocrat who believes
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the logic of reform will prevail. look at the reform programme's priorities. you know, we've a ready had, by presidential decree, the labour reforms. wheels have, what, cuts to corporations tax, we have some property taxes are to be cut. at the same time, we have increased tax on pensioners, cuts to housing allowances, that many french people have relied upon. to many in this country, it looks like this is a policy programme of reform that favours the well—to—do. except that there are many measures that you have not described, in favour of the weakest part of the population. we are increasing the minimum pension for the eldest. we are increasing the activity premium that we are giving to people who are entering jobs. of course, when you downsize taxes, you are giving advantage to people who pay taxes. and these are the most — the richest in the population. half of the population doesn't pay the income tax in france. were kind of message, though?
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but this idea of prioritising, with year one being a rush to cut corporate tax, cut property tax, whereas some of the more socially—driven measures to help poorer folks are spread over the five years. no, they start already. there will be 15 billion euros dedicated to vocational training. there will be a shock in terms of helping people not dealing with unemployment. we have been very good at paying a lot of money for curing the diseases of our society. we would very much prefer to prevent these diseases from occurring. we have to encourage creating more jobs, and, for this, we need investment, and we need flexibility. those kinds of words, particularly words like flexibility, to worry some people.
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they have it had been union demonstrations. not so many, as you've seen. well, presumably, you've witness the most elabe recent poll, then. 69% of people surveyed think the macron reforms are unfair. 59% believe they will not revitalise the economy or ease the situation in the country. and 49% say it is too early to have any sort of judgement. because we just started, and we are starting with tough measures, because we found a budget which was really a huge problem for our country. so we've had to take tough decisions. better to take them now than not to take them at all. you don't think macron cares that his approval rating has slumped from 60% to 40%? we are not expecting to have good polls every day, but we are expecting and trying to take good decisions. a final point, if i may. macron is a man clearly a hurry. he has talked about wanting a jupitarian presidency, with godlike powers to change france. this is not a godlike power.
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when he mentioned jupiter, he said he had to give a sense to action but not involved in the daily dealing with things. this has been caricatured. well, not by me, but by the french people. but you know, we are very good at caricaturing each other. yeah, do you think... well, let me put it this way: do you think it was wise for the president to rail against — quote — slackers and cynics, and people who are nothing? he targeted politicians who have done nothing for years. and he was right for that. 0k, well finally, then, a pollster from ifop, again, talking about macron‘s style — and this is what i'm getting at — he says "certain social groups see his style as a slap in the face and proof that this president doesn't care." all i'm saying is, do you think he needs to be careful moving forward? i think if you are always careful, you do nothing, and that is probably what has been going on in my country for decades.
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so this change is real and it's going to be, maybe, brutal? no, it's not brutal, it's going to be dynamic. emmanuel macron must always realise that winning the presidency was the easy part. reforming france — that has barely began. good morning. the weather is much quieter now, it's turning chilly out there under clear skies. 0n wednesday, severe weather in cumbria, heavy cloud, low cloud,
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producing a lot of rain. feeding into the rivers as the water drained from high ground. it was in the highest ground that we had the heaviest rain. in hollister, over 200 millimetres of rain in 2a hours. that rain was localised, but it was a thick band of cloud, more active weather front that swept south—eastwards. the weather front weekend, out of the way now. we are into a flat ridge for today. a deepening low—pressure waiting in the wings by the end of the week. a quieter day on thursday. chilly in the morning. some mist patches in the morning. some mist patches in the south. a lot of dry weather and some sunshine. as you have further north, the winds are that bit stronger. in scotland and northern ireland, a bit more cloud from the word go. around the highlands and islands, heavy in the northern
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isles. gusts picking up and northern ireland. more cloud around here from time to time, a threat of rain in the far north—west. patches of cloud develop in england and wales. more sunshine yesterday. slightly fresher air, temperatures similar to what we had on wednesday. it should be a decent day for most of us but there's weather systems arrive in there's weather systems arrive in the north—west overnight, thickening cloud and outbreaks of rain, the winds will pick up as well. betis weather over the hills, and in western scotland, more rain pushing into cumbria and north wales. further south and east, deborah sunshine. temperatures close to 20 degrees. warmer air across much of the uk. at the weekend, we draw up warm airfrom iberia, biscay, and into central and southern parts of the uk. a difference in temperature, as you can see. either side of that weather front, and initially not much rain on that at all. in the north—west
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later in the day, temperatures getting up to 19 or 20 degrees. heavy rain continues. not quite as warm here, but in the south—east, it could be 22 or 23. this is newsday on the bbc. i'm rico hizon in singapore, the headlines: at least 21 people have died in wildfires in california, which the authorities say are likely to get worse. the un accuses the burmese security forces of a systematic policy of brutal expulsion of the muslim rohingyas. i'm kasia madera in london. also in the programme: the harvey weinstein scandal intensifies — hollywood a—listers are the latest to accuse the movie mogul of sexual harassment. and, how india's border
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with china isn't as secure as you might think — we visit a remote village on the edge of indian territory. live from our studios in
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